I play Ad Nauseam and Phyrexian Unlife at the same time with Ad Nauseam on top. Upon resolution I repeat Ad Nauseam's effect, say, 40 times. Do I lose before Unlife can save me? Or does the game proceed with me at -20 LP?

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    Minor nitpick, but you generally can't cast two spells "at the same time". You cast one, put it on the stack, and then cast the other. Jun 1, 2017 at 20:14
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    While we're nitpicking minor things, putting a spell on the stack is part of casting it; you don't do it afterwards.
    – KSFT
    Jun 1, 2017 at 20:33
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    While we're nitpicking minor things, putting a spell on the stack is part of proposing to cast it (601.2a). It isn't cast until 601.2i.
    – corsiKa
    Jun 1, 2017 at 21:58
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    @corsiKa To nitpick.... when 601.2i says "cast", it is using it as an adjective; that the spell has now become "cast". 601.2 uses "cast" as a verb, which is what KSFT meant, and it says that casting a spell is the process described in the steps listed.
    – GendoIkari
    Jun 1, 2017 at 22:04
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    @GendoIkari You're missing my point. If I put a marble in a bag, and put that bag in a box, yes the marble is in a box, but it's more accurate to say that the marble is in a bag in a box. That's the further minor nitpick.
    – corsiKa
    Jun 1, 2017 at 22:15

1 Answer 1


In this scenario, you would lose as soon as Ad Nauseam finishes resolving. It doesn't matter if you're about to cast Phyrexian Unlife or if Phyrexian Unlife is on the stack waiting to resolve. However, you can easily avoid this problem by simply letting Phyrexian Unlife resolve before you cast Ad Nauseam.

Losing due to having zero life is an example of what are called State-based actions. These are checked at any time that any player would receive priority and they cannot be responded to.

The rules for which player gains priority at what time are defined in rule 116.3:

  • 116.3. Which player has priority is determined by the following rules:

    • 116.3a The active player receives priority at the beginning of most steps and phases, after any turn-based actions (such as drawing a card during the draw step; see rule 703) have been dealt with and abilities that trigger at the beginning of that phase or step have been put on the stack. No player receives priority during the untap step. Players usually don’t get priority during the cleanup step (see rule 514.3).

    • 116.3b The active player receives priority after a spell or ability (other than a mana ability) resolves.

    • 116.3c If a player has priority when he or she casts a spell, activates an ability, or takes a special action, that player receives priority afterward.

    • 116.3d If a player has priority and chooses not to take any actions, that player passes. If any mana is in that player’s mana pool, he or she announces what mana is there. Then the next player in turn order receives priority.

As you can see, a player will gain priority as soon as Ad Nauseum resolves, and at that time state-based actions will be checked and you will lose the game.

  • So i am to understand that after each spell resolves priority is passed to the other player? Your link says i may play more than one spell before priority changes. Then the stack would resolve as a set in the order they were played correct? Jun 1, 2017 at 19:53
  • I added a section on when players gain priority. Does that answer your question?
    – murgatroid99
    Jun 1, 2017 at 20:05
  • Spells in the stack resolve in the opposite order that they were played (put on the stack).
    – Mosquite
    Jun 1, 2017 at 21:34
  • Indeed it does. Thank you. The reason that unlife AFTER ad would be better is so deaths shadow could come in as a 32/32 (thanks to the -20 LP)... The solution is Platinum angel... =) Jun 1, 2017 at 23:58
  • But that's also true if the Phyrexian Unlife is already on the battlefield when you cast Ad Nauseam. Literally the only difference is that you won't lose.
    – murgatroid99
    Jun 2, 2017 at 0:01

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